Monday, April 25, 2011

Proper Professional: Design. Refine. Be. Mine.

The Proper Professional feature was birthed out my desire to spread the blogging love while also gaining some insight into professional and business attire in various situations. My goal is to feature bloggers from all different professions, whether stay-at-home moms, mega-corporation executive assistants, work-from-home employees, small office staff, business owners or more, to view different perspectives and opinions on what is appropriate, acceptable, and professional. Hopefully you'll be inspired and introduced to some great new blogs, too!

Today's feature is Rachel of Design. Refine. Be. Mine

Tell us a little about yourself and your blog.
Hi guys, I'm a thirty something working mom. I love fashion but by no means feel I'm on the fashion forefront. I love to make things so I make a fair amount of the things I wear. I tend to stick to classic silhouettes and neutral colors. 
How did you come up with your blog name?
Well, my blog name is Be. Mine but it's full name is Design. Refine. Be. Mine. So how did this little name come about...I am a designer and feel most things need to be designed whether it's an outfit, your hair or a room. To go at something without a design intent usually ends up looking like it was thrown together. (Picture clothes flying around a room, some land on you, throw them on, out the door you go, hence thrown together). Refine, is what I try to get in the finish...something worked and refined and that truly works in the end. It doesn't always happen but the fashion thing is still a work in progress for me. And lastly, BE. MINE. is just a cute little ending that rhymes.  

Do you work from home (a stay-at-home-mom IS an occupation too!) or outside the home, and what do you do?
I'm an Interior Designer for Architectural and Engineering Firm. 

Do you have a dress code by which you need to abide (either corporate or self-imposed)? If so, what is it and how do your co-workers (if applicable) approach the dress code?
There is a dress code, I’m sure, but I have no idea what it says. Most of the people in my office wear suits and slacks and that type of thing. I try to stick somewhere near that line of professionalism. Part of the question was how do your coworkers dress. Well, that’s an interesting thing in my office. The younger ones dress down more than the older ones. My thought is you dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I feel like the more you look like a put together person the more your boss is going to want to put you in front of the client because you make a good impression on them. 
Do you choose your outfits in advance or in the morning, and how long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
I always plan outfits. Most of the time I have them laid out before the week starts. I usually draw them in a spare minute here and there. I can get ready in 30 minutes to an hour. It depends on if I have to wash my hair or not. 
If you were commissioned to rewrite the dress code, what would you change (if anything)?
I wouldn't change anything. I'm pretty happy with what I can wear to work.

Do you think companies should take into account the potential cost for certain dress codes to be achieved and if so, should they be concerned about the cost being equal for both men and women?
No, there are just certain costs to having a job. I think it’s to everyone’s benefit to look the best that they can in the price range they can afford. There are lots of ways to look good on a budget. If you’ve done Kendi’s 30 x 30 you know that looking good can be done with not a ton of clothes. In my opinion, looks can get you far in your job. I think without the look you may get passed up without consideration for lots of potential jobs.
What is your definition of professional attire and would this vary if the business is a small business compared to a larger corporation?
I think looking professional changes according to your job but no matter what the office you should have slacks, pencil skirts and heels or fancy flats and all in nice fabrics. But you know, if you work at home then that is out the window. So it just depends on your job… I have to say if I worked for a small business I’d dress the same. I want to look like a professional and put my best foot forward no matter what level of the working work I’m in. I just think it’ll get you further in your career.
What are some pieces that every woman should have available in their professional arsenal?
A pencil skirt. They look great on almost everyone. They're sleek, polished and versatile.

What pieces are never professionally appropriate regardless of the situation?
I'm going with clear heels. Hopefully, you know what I mean. {Um, *unfortunately* I know what you mean!}
Describe an outfit you'd wear in each of the following settings (feel free to include a picture for any/all of them if you have photos!): 1. A typical day at work. 2. A formal business meeting. 3. An informal meeting with co-workers. 4. A business dinner with co-workers and superiors.
1. Skirt, blouse, jewelry and heels. 
2. Jacket, blouse, slacks, heels, jewelry. 
3. Skirt, blouse, jewelry and heels. 
4. Skirt, blouse, jewelry and heel. Maybe a jacket and possibly denim trouser pants instead of skirt. It’s off hours after all. 
Big thanks to Rachel for sharing her point of view with us today! If you haven't checked out her blog yet, click here to take a look!

If you'd like to be featured here (or if there is another blogger that you'd like to see featured and get their perspective), go NOW to your email and send me a message at aworkingmomscloset at!

Have a great Monday, everyone! 


  1. So very true the way you dress can make you go far in a job. Great interview.

  2. What a great idea and interview.
    Will be happy to check out her blog.
    Would have been cool to include a photo or two as well. Just a suggestion. :)

  3. I love the 'dress for the job you want''s one of my codes to dress by. And pencil skirts are my go-to professional pieces, too :)

    I really love this series, Mel!

  4. I agree 100% with: "No, there are just certain costs to having a job."

    I'm interested to hear the rationale behind the sudden appearance of pants for the formal meeting. Perhaps I'd be the opposite: pants for everyday and skirt for meetings. I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong, I'm just intrigued by the differences between people!

  5. Great interview! I love what she says about designing and refining an outfit...I'm more of the toss on and go type person, but I think taking time to plan and design an outfit would be helpful. I'm so w/ Rachel on pencil skirts being the most versatile item...I just can't get enough of them!


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